by Ryan Mayberry
Synopsis: Asking, "How can we ensure that our families are following God's pattern?" Ryan focuses on the importance of establishing a proper hierarchy, maintaining a proper attitude, and keeping a proper focus.
Understanding that we can accomplish good and glorify God at all points in our lives has been a theme in this series of lessons. Little ones can shine their innocence to the world. Those who are young and single can be faithful examples. Young married couples can do so as well.
Whenever you're young and single, you don't have as many responsibilities, but when you take your wedding vows, everything changes. All of the sudden, a young man has responsibility for his wife, and in time, children also.
As has been noted in other lessons, a legacy is something that you leave behind. I like how Paul Linden expressed it: "The spiritual achievements in your life." How do we instill genuine faith in our hearts? How do we leave a lasting spiritual legacy in our homes? How do we ensure that our families are following God's pattern? This lesson focuses on three points: maintaining a proper hierarchy, a proper attitude, and a proper focus.
According to God's pattern, the husband is the head of his household. Ephesians 5:22-23 says, "Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands, in everything." As the Lord has authority over the church, the husband has authority over his wife. The Greek word, hupotasso, here rendered "subject," is the combination of two words, hupo (under) and tasso (to set or arrange). So literally, this means "to set under," or to be in subjection.
Husbands should not have to earn the respect of their wives. Likewise, wives should not have to earn the love of their husbands. Looking for shortcomings in our spouse does not give us an excuse to neglect our duty. I am commanded to love my wife. Period. My wife is commanded to be submissive to me. Period. Both are unconditional. The husband may fall short in certain areas, as may also the wife. Being human, we all make mistakes. Instead of seeking an excuse to avoid obeying God's word, we should look for ways to succeed every day.
Whenever you're told that you're in charge of something, it can be easy to let that power go to your head. However, that isn't the way that men should look at being the head of a house. It isn't just raw power; rather, it is a serious responsibility. We must live with our wives in an understanding manner, honoring her as a fellow heir of the grace of life (1 Pet. 3:7).
Yes, the wife must submit to the husband; yet, that does not mean that he is the final authority. He must submit to the Lord. In running our household, I must not allow the power that God has given me to go to my head. This role is not about me. I am merely to fulfill the daunting responsibilities that are assigned by God (Eph. 5:25).
John 15:13 says, "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends." One truly steps into his role as a husband only when he realizes that protecting and serving his wife and children is more important than fulfilling personal desires. This does not mean that we will necessarily be called to die for our families, although we should be ready to do so if such is required. Instead, it means that we must put aside selfishness, and realize that their needs come before ours.
We rule our households, not with a tyrannical spirit, but with understanding and love, treating our wives and children with respect—leading in the way that God intended (Eph. 6:4; Col. 3:21).
So how do we care for those lives? How do we guide them on their path to heaven? Having been married for only three years, I'm a novice. I don't have any kids yet, so I don't know what it's like to have that love sweep over me when I look at a soul that I helped bring into this world. I don't have all the answers, but I know where to find the answers.
What does Scripture say about the need for proper focus? God's word should be at the center of our hearts and homes. Our heavenly Father sets us up for success. By providing His word, He has revealed the path to earthly happiness and eternal glory.
If I am supposed to be the head of my house as Christ is the head of the church, shouldn't I set up my family for success? I start by following Christ myself. I cannot ask others to do something that I will not do myself. "Do as I say, not as I do" does not work. Instead, we should say, "Do as I say, and do as I do." May I mirror the glory of God in all my actions.
We enjoy many material blessings, but sometimes they become distractions. Phones, computers, TVs, etc. can all interfere with keeping the focus on Christ. How much time do we spend with our electronics? Do you check your email the first thing in the morning? While at work, do you look at social media during your breaks? During the evenings, how much time do you spend watching TV or surfing the internet? As a follow-up question, ask yourself, how much time do I devote to the study of God's word? How does that compare to the time you spend on social media? For good or ill, the minutes and hours add up, and just like that, your day is done. If we regularly used some of that time in delving deeper into God's word, we would share a closer relationship with our heavenly Father.
Laying aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, we must run the Christian race with endurance (Heb. 12:1-2). Encumbrances and sins are not necessarily the same. Nothing is inherently wrong with social media, our phones, etc. Yet, if they keep us from focusing on God's word, they become an encumbrance. Let's distinguish between what truly matters and what is inconsequential.
Additionally, we should be cautious regarding the content of our entertainment. What do we watch, listen to, and read? Are our choices governed by the will of God, or are we allowing evil to creep into our homes? Surround yourself and your family with the spiritually uplifting things of God, not the sinfully debasing things of man (Phil. 4:8).
Faithful attendance at Bible study and worship services are also essential. Christians regularly assemble a few times a week. Why not take advantage of every opportunity to be with our brethren and worship God? Do we count it as a blessing or a burden? Yes, faithful attendance is an obligation, but it is also a privilege to assemble with the saints (Heb. 10:23-25).
Please permit me to brag on my parents for a minute. They were very careful in our home to make sure that we maintained proper focus. They brought us to church and area gospel meetings. They were careful about what we watched on TV. Nathan and I read a lot growing up. Many of the books we read were classics with which my parents were familiar, or we would stick to authors that we trusted. Occasionally, if we wanted to try a book or a series with which they were unfamiliar, they would read it first to make sure that it was suitable. They spent a lot of time protecting us from the immorality and sin that permeates the world in which we live.
They also were careful that we had a proper balance. Since Nathan and I were homeschooled, we had a special opportunity since Dad was a preacher who worked from home. Every morning we would wake up around 7:30 to prepare for our first class: Biblical Greek, which we studied from 8:00—8:30. After breakfast, it was Bible class, that lasted from 9:00—9:30. Regular school followed afterward. Mom and Dad were careful that our school curriculum did not contradict God's word so that the good that was done in that first hour and a half was not undone over the remainder of the day. We prayed at every meal and all prayed together at night. That was my childhood. I am thankful to Mom and Dad for their constant dedication and devotion to the truth, and the countless hours that they spent training us to follow God's word. I am truly blessed (Prov. 22:6).
My parents are the reason I stand before you today. They had the proper focus and attitude. They had the proper hierarchy in their marriage and in our home. I want to give my future children the same thing.
There is nothing more important in this life than perfecting our faith and passing it down to future generations. What are we leaving behind for our children?
I need to live in such a manner that Ecclesiastes 7:1 can be fulfilled in my life: "A good name is better than a good ointment, and the day of one's death is better than the day of one's birth."
I challenge you to do the same. Live in such a manner that you can leave a good name for yourself and your family. Will our children be proud that they bear our name? Will they be thankful for the way they were raised? Will they be able to say that their lives were better because of our leadership?
May we lead our families so that we are preparing the next generation to carry on our legacy of faith. May we reflect the glory of God in our daily lives, and may our children learn to do the same.
Author Bio: Ryan is an adjuster at Farmers Insurance in the Houston, TX area. He and his wife, Emilee, attend at Adoue St. church of Christ in Alvin, TX. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.